In 1926, famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared for six weeks. When she surfaced, she claimed that she had been kidnapped and held prisoner in Mexico. Others claimed that she ... See full summary »
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Ernest Harden Jr.,
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In 1926, famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared for six weeks. When she surfaced, she claimed that she had been kidnapped and held prisoner in Mexico. Others claimed that she was off carrying on an affair with a married man. This movie dramatizes the court hearing held to determine exactly what happened. Written by
In an interview published in the New York Times on 20 December 1993, director Anthony Harvey said that during filming of this movie, Bette Davis "absolutely took a dislike to Faye Dunaway... I would line them up for a two-shot," he said, "then look through the camera, and I couldn't see Bette." Each time, Davis had inched her chair away to evade a tete-a-tete with the younger Dunaway. See more »
Once-prestigious television movie now looks a bit under-nourished...
A bigger budget and an expanded narrative might have made "The Disappearance of Aimee" a dandy theatrical mystery. In 1926, Protestant female minister--and popular radio evangelist--Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared from the waters off a Southern California beach and remained missing for just over a month. She later turned up in Douglas, Arizona telling a wild story about being kidnapped for a $500,000 ransom. Because two men drowned in the ocean while searching for McPherson's body, an unstoppable prosecutor called her before the court, believing she was actually dallying with a married man. Faye Dunaway's lead performance is good, not great; she has a lengthy monologue in her hospital room which could be called a mini tour de force, yet her religious exaltations before her adoring believers are rote, and her relationship with her hovering mother (portrayed by Bette Davis) is sketchily drawn. This TV production, once considered eventful programming, now looks puny in scope, with an uncertain direction and variable performances. We often don't know how to take the characters, and the editing is so shapeless that the flashbacks, in particular, fail to make much of an imprint.
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